Conservative GOP legislators in Montana’s House of Representatives – who only narrowly voted to make Rep. Wylie Galt the Speaker of the House – are experiencing “buyer’s remorse” and now wonder if they made the wrong decision. Will Rep. Galt pacify the most renowned liberal in the Montana legislature by putting him in charge of arguably the most important committee in the House? Some legislators are already discussing options to remove the new Speaker in the event he betrays conservatives.
Wylie Galt won by one vote in his bid for Speaker of the House against fellow conservative firebrand, Matt Regier. Nonetheless, Montana’s conservatives were optimistic regarding their leadership choices considering Galt’s stalwart conservative track record. But over the weekend, that confidence was gravely shaken.
The rumors out of Helena is that Speaker Galt has made moves suggesting that he will place Llew Jones (RINO-Conrad) as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which controls the purse strings of the legislature. Additionally, it’s been suggested that Galt is appeasing Jones by stacking the rest of the Appropriation Committee with Jones’ liberal Solutions Caucus members, handing over the keys to the conservative kingdom to the extreme left wing of the Republican Party.
Fueling speculations that Galt has made a “devil’s bargain” with Jones is that Jones and his Solutions Caucus very clearly favored Galt over Regier, who most assumed would marginalize Jones and offer some fair and reasonable sanctions upon the legislator for serving as a Quisling ally of both Governors Bullock and Schweitzer. It appears that Jones spread the rumor that Regier would have a “scorched earth policy” toward the Solutions Caucus after their embarrassing defeats by more conservative candidates in the June primary.
Regier took the initiative to oust several of Jones’ liberal Republican compatriots through his Doctors for a Healthy Montana group, which launched billboards attacking the liberals for their Medicaid Expansion vote. Meanwhile, Jones viciously attacked the legislature’s conservatives through proxy groups like the Farm Bureau, the Montana Chamber of Commerce, and the Ag-Growers PACs. All things considered, it seems that Regier’s scrappy perseverance won handily over Jones’ much more well-funded attacks on conservatives.
It would make sense then, that Republicans hoping to see a brighter, more peaceful, and more unified future ahead for Montana’s GOP would lean toward Galt, who it was assumed would take a more balanced approach in dealing with Jones and perhaps extend an olive branch or two. But it seems they are getting more than they bargained for.
Few who voted for Galt expected him to give Llew Jones the most valued, influential, and prominent committee in the legislature. Considering the great harm that Jones has done to the conservative cause over the last 14 years, it makes little sense to give him his assignment wish list.
The Montana Daily Gazette has been inundated with calls or communiques from disgruntled Republicans who are upset that it appears Galt is squandering the incredible conservative mandate handed the GOP in November’s Red Wave. Some are already discussing options to remove Galt for a breach of trust.
Whether or not Galt will stab the Red Wave voters in the back is yet to be seen. It is expected that Galt will announce his decision as to Jones and the Appropriations Committee later today.
Stay tuned here, because Montana Gazette editorial staff will update this article with Galt’s decision and – best case scenario – will have to run a retraction of this article if Galt relents. Should Galt proceed, however, the Montana Daily Gazette is prepared to fully research whatever bargains Galt and Jones might have made to thwart the conservative mandate in the Montana House.
UPDATE: It’s being reported that Galt indeed kept Llew Jones as chair of the Appropriations Committee. Lawmakers are now discussing the feasibility of removing Galt from his Speakership.